I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
No reproduction on other media without the photographer's permission.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

13th Rider of the Apocalypse, by Stevie Haston

Past by here the other day, its white, some good powder up high. Better than Cham thats for sure.Theres been a nice dump in some places, past by some white mountains La Grave way, good high up.

A crampon fit for a Cyclops, nice bit of practical art, its a seat!

Visited my attic to dust off some magic carpets, I got my eye on a few little rides down here in the south, did some good gullies a few years back, but need to travel a bit to get some big drops in. Italy did spoil me.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Last big supper, by Stevie stuffed Haston.

 We were 16 at lunch, and some of us had come a wee ways, an extended family, just part of a really big one, and of course the family really should extend all around the world, arnt we all the same family? 

 The Kids table was now after all these years full of young people, three of whom went to school in different countries and all of them had stories to tell us.
 To come to the dinner we had drove past a few good cliffs, a hard thing to do! And the attractions of towns and cities often miss me by a country mile, event though french towns can have charm in excess.

on the way up, we sung to songs forty years old, and a few older, we talked about driving on and collecting all the good folks we knew, as well as the family, the tribe would increase, and when we stopped we would need a big valley to stay in. Europe at the moment is changing, people are much more on the move than they used to be, its in a flux and people are struggling with coming to terms with this new way of doing and living, I hope its a bright future. Its just short of a hundred years since world war one, when my grandfather got his leg shot off in a Flanders field. If he'd been a bit shorter, or the damage a bit higher, I wouldn't be around, peace and good will to all. 

Thursday, 26 December 2013

2014 is coming, by stevie spring chicken Haston.

It's sneigeing, or snizzeling, horrible, cold damp, blowing a houlie kind of weather. The cats are in, pretending to get along. My thougths are about next year, I want it to be good, na man I want it to be crome nical, 24 carot nirvanna in a sandwich.

Gotta get out, partners  sick, will have to coerse someone on flooking boxing day, is it possible, everybody hates me anyway, they are defo not gonna come out to be whacked by freezing rock. Warm up on my finger board just incase a fool picks the phone up.

As I warm up on the board, dreams of great routes seep back into the frontal cortex, then they flood back. Some good routes in 2013.

Did my yoga this morning, almost felt at peace and joyful, gotta do more in '14, letting it slip was a mistake.

Need to make time for the real things, need to chance my arm and grab the thistle with the other. Need to see more dawns, sunsets, and I feel like a trip to a big mountain, to pay homage to something gigantic.

Need to open some routes for everybody, so they can get out of themeselves. 2014, some resolutions coming, the winter solstice is good, and then come the new year resolutions.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Pagan festivities 2U, by Stevie Woden Haston.

It's been not unreasonable, dry rock if a bit cold, done some rock, done some walking, done a bit of multi pitch, love rock after all these years.  

This is a 35 meter pitch of special magnificance, mean at the end, its 7a+ or so regularly kicks people in the nuts just befor they clip the chains and they take a big plunge, especialy if they were too pumped to clip the last draw. I hope you all do it one day. At the top you rest in a hole and look down into a small rock chamber where a holy hermit used to live.  

With the winter solstice gone and celebrated, we can tuck into the western ones of excess, or not.

I haven't drunk any beer for a while, but you go and have some for me. The one above is an anti GMO beer, and the money goes back to their protest, it was good, and their protest is good, so kill two birds with one Stein, protest and drink!  

Monday, 23 December 2013

I'm a rock, I'm an island, by Stevie Haston

Who was right Simon and Garfunkle, or John Dunne. No man is an island, 
             entire of itself
every man is part of the main

This morning introspection is brought on by climbing slabs yesterday which were so toughly graded that they reminded me of the Belgium cliffs. When 6s feel like 7s.  Boulevard de Vol is still waiting for me Mr T'Kint.
This is an early photo of my dear self at 6 months, a heavy baby, my weight was always to be a problem.

 Jeff, ensconced in the Dwarf, 'how many pastitzee will we eat today'. Jeff climbs under an island, while a few billion watch football.

 Sometimes I am a mountain, sometimes I am an island. And who could think up the name Garfunkle, a man who had a pocketful of promises. 

 This was a view I had a few weeks ago when I'd like to say I was reading Dante, and  Schiller in their original language, but in reality I was reading a La Stampa news paper with a lot of burly workmen. 

 I walk past your old house Emile, and always see you standing on a summit, you are an island, your head above a sea of normality, an independent nation.

The crystal clarity of the mountains is rarely duplicated in men and women now a days, with the explosion of useless shit that is now available for you, being an island is damn near impossible, we are just a crowded beach full of dog ends, sun burnt, flabby, work tired, 'smart' phone toting drones, stairing at other peoples wives, jealously guarding our two meters of sand. 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Fat Mediterranean wimp, by Stevie Haston.

Doing the twist, one of the best climbing things you can do!

I wouldnt get outta bed this morning! My wife called me names with some justification, it was cold, but I was and am a wimp. I lay in bed and read some old stuff about climbing, you know when men where men, and sheep in the mountains needed counciling. Yesterday we went out and it was bloody artic, froze my tootsies off. Did an 8a even though I was fat, some ice around the crag, it reminded me of something!

These are an old pair of axes that I have saved, the lightest production model produced! Anyway did a little old Mixed workout, Twists on the wall and 10 second pull ups, followed by 10 second L sits, didnt get very far, I think my wife was being generous when she called me a wimp, I am in fact a fat, weak, wimp!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Re climbing the rope, after falling, by Stevie fall guy Haston.

 When you fall off into space and can't get back up you have a problem. This problem is worse if you are fat, weak, or have a skinny rope. The old way or normal way is to grab the rope with both hands and do a pull-up and let go, if your belayer then takes in you gain 6 inches to a foot. Its actually hard to do this and with ropes that are 9.4 and less its really really hard. If you only have a short way to go, you can put your heel on the rope and layback up the rope, this can get you up to where you can touch the rock and then climb up the other rope.

If you are way down the rope you can layback up the rope and then just hand over hand the rope, if you are very strong you might make it, probably not. If you keep lay backing in series and your belayer takes in it's less strenuous than pull up/ pumping the rope.

If you have one prussic knot and one crab you layback up the rope clip in to the knot and then keep lay backing the rope. This will get you up the rope slowly and securely if you keep shorting the rope with knots.

 The little bit of rope for prussicing is better if its not too thin or too thick. Too thin and it sticks, and two fat it doesn't grip. One modern gadget like a rope man or a such will work much better. Two little bits of rope sling or two light gadgets will work really very well.

The purpose of this was to show you it's possible with one bit of sling and one carabiner. In an emergency you should have one bit of string somewhere and one crab.

Here's another little tip. The figure of 8 is my chosen knot for tying in, and it's this because I never get it wrong, I can do it in the dark etc.

If you tie it like this, which is with the end pushed thru a loop so it makes it neater and less likely to grab an end to clip the rope thru runners, its also stronger. It's also stronger which maybe makes it the strongest knot for tying in, this is an important consideration as the bowline which is dangerous in my opinion was always touted as the strongest. 

This final photo is with end double threaded thru. Try to understand what is happening here before you try and use it like this, or don't use it. If I fall on this knot it will take impact force out of the system during a fall and so a few things  happen, there is less force on everything which is always good, the knot becomes even stronger, you can untie the rope by pulling on the end and its easier, and the rope and system take less bang. If you are on marginal trad gear, like rp 1s and 2s, loose rock, expanding flakes you will make them a few percent stronger, in other words they might hold. 

There you go that's my Xmass present to you all.  

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Questions, no answers, by Stevie blank Haston

Lots of people want me to go ice climbing, but they won't pay. Will I go ice climbing again, no probably not!

Can I climb Century Crack? Probably not! But never say never, eh. Might go to the States in the spring, due to the generosity of my big Bro. I said I'd never go back to the States, but I want to see my mates and the desert, Never say Never, again. 

The love of my life, mountain riding, will I ever do big hills in big snow again? Nanga Parbat has three teams trying it this winter, if I was there I'd have a board, even if I didn't have much chance!  

Merry Xmass to snow and ice loons, its coming early. A big wow to Muriel Sarkany for doing Punt X, question is this really the first 9a done by a woman? Were all the others easier? Looks like it!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Mont Blanc Crack, by Stevie cracking Haston

Here's a little review of Mont Blanc super cracks by Camurri and Bassanini, its ace, buy it.
Very good topos, descriptions and gear recommendations. Chamonix is in my opinion a better destination for climbing than Yosemite, but I am not going to argue the point. When the Dru was in one piece it was clear, anyway go enjoy some crack! 

This is one of my routes in Cham, Sans Liberté, grade unknown, possibly 8b+, no second ascent. Its not in the guide book, as are some excellent routes like the 8a on  Portalet, which has only had a handful  of ascents. There are some notable exceptions in this excellent guide but the guide would be huge if they had everything so this is a select guide.

Heres a couple od photos to get you hungry, the place is so good it makes me sad to think I am not there. I spent years there and climbed nearly every route in this book, so I can recommend the book and the place. 

This is the hitch hiking spot, for getting back into france. I remember it so well. 

Grepon,  Blaitiere and Plan, with a bit of snow, looking cold but beau, out of condition! 

Mauvais temps, finish your route, abb off and get in the pub!